The effect of oral caffeine supplementation

MATH 117

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Date 12/14/2019

This article examines the effect of oral caffeine supplementation on blood pressure in ballet dancers. As ballet dance requires physical flexibility and mental balance, it can result in an elevated energy cost. Caffeine is among some of the supplements that are used to reduce the fatigue produced by this cost during training sessions and to enhance performance. However, there are no studies that have investigated the side effects of caffeine on professional ballet dancers. As a result, the author wants to fill this void, and he started his study by claiming that the consumption of caffeine increases blood pressure in ballet dancers.

This study was conducted at a significance level of 5% (α ≤ 5%). It included a randomly selected sample size of (n = 9) ballet dancers (five males, four females), who trained five hours per day for five days a week in a dance company. The average age of the sample was 28.5 years with a standard deviation of 8.8 years. This study was an experimental study since a caffeine or placebo capsule was administered by the experimenter. One hour before the initial dance began, caffeine supplementation was provided to each dancer, and measurements of blood pressure were performed. Then, after three days of washout period had insured that the caffeine was properly metabolized and removed from the dancers’ bodies, the same procedure was repeated, but this time a placebo supplementation was given. Both capsules, the caffeine and placebo, were similar in quantity, appearance, smell, and taste. Either the cases or the provider would not able to differentiate both capsules. From this, I understand this experiment was a double-blind study. The author conducted to see if there is any difference in the average blood pressure during the caffeine and placebo consumption. The reason why the author choses to conduct a t-test is because he had a paired sample, a numerical variable, blood pressure, a very small sample size (n < 30), and he had no any idea about the population standard deviation (σ). However, he assumed all the nine ballet dancers were independent to each other and the difference between them is normally distributed.

Does caffeine supplement increase blood pressure in ballet dancers? is the research question asked. The hypothesis being tested is consumption of caffeine would increase blood pressure in ballet dancers. Furthermore, since it is a paired data, there is no difference in  average blood pressure during caffeine and placebo consumption (Ho: µdiff = 0), and there is an increase in average blood pressure during caffeine consumption ( Ha: µdiff  > 0)  can be the null and alternative hypothesis respectively, where µdiff is the average difference of blood pressure during caffeine and placebo consumption in all ballet dancers. However, since the author did not provide any data for the differences, lets conduct t-test for difference in mean instead of paired t-test. Our hypothesis will be Ho: there is no difference in the average blood pressure of ballet dancers whether they consume caffeine supplement or not (µc – µp = 0) and Ha: the average blood pressure of ballet dancers during caffeine supplement  is higher than during placebo supplementation (µc – µp >0,) where µc and µp are the average blood pressures during caffeine and placebo consumptions respectively. The average blood pressure was 114.5 mmHg and 116.56 mmHg with a standard deviation of 11.23 and 9.25 during placebo and caffeine supplementation. The standard error is 4.849 mmHg and the value of the standardized test statics is 0.425 as shown below.


= = 4.849

From this Tcrit value I expected larger P-value which can be calculated in R studio (pt. (0.425, df=8, lower tail=FALSE) = 0.341). the reason why I choose only right tail test is because I am looking for the elevation of blood pressure during caffeine supplementation. Since the P-value is larger than the significance level (0.341 > 0.05), I failed to reject the null hypothesis. In other words, there is no enough evidence that shows increment of average blood pressure due to consumption of caffeine supplement in ballet dancers. From our conclusion, we can suggest that ballet dancers can use caffeine supplement to boost their energy and performance without side effect of hypertension. However, further studies are needed to explore till what amount is safe to use as well as it’s other metabolic effects.

In short, I found the article interesting because it shows me the importance of statistics in everyday life. For example, I realize how statistics can correct a misguided claim. I am glad taking this class. I was able to dissect the data, to specify what the claim is, test the claim with appropriate test statistics, and reach to my conclusion. I would love to learn more about stats in the future.


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